Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me and what the king had said to me. They replied, “Let us start rebuilding.” So they began this good work. (Nehemiah 2:17-18)
Some friends of mine have been visiting places in our Tri-State area with spiritual significance and praying over these sites. They have been praying over church buildings both occupied and empty, recovery centers, schools, and outreaches. Places that were established with prayer and tears crying out for the spiritual needs of our region. These ministries have generally waned in comparison to their former glory no longer containing the same fervor, commitment, and cohesion that brought heaven to bear on the surrounding peoples. There is a cry in our heart asking Lord will you do it again, will you move in our midst? While praying at one place, my friend heard the Lord say, “I will fill this place again!” Praise God for that!
When Nehemiah received word of the condition of Jerusalem, his heart was broken. Nehemiah knew that it was not the surrounding nation's fault that the city of God fell into disrepair, it was the unfaithfulness of His people. They were scattered under the righteous sentence of the Lord and there was the promise of return if they would humble themselves and turn back to Him. Nehemiah fasted and prayed so that he might be released to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. The walls around Jerusalem were of great significance as a sign to the nations that God was with His people blessing and protecting them.
Nehemiah had the favor of the King and was granted the supplies needed to accomplish the work but from the perspective of the onlookers and enemies, these people were too few, too inexperienced, and not likely to complete the task. It wasn’t until the people of God banded together and took their place that progress was made and then this rebuilding project brought on the anger of the enemy. The Israelites prayed for God’s protection day and night and were forced to build with one hand while carrying swords in the other. They miraculously finished the work in 52 days!
What might we learn from Nehemiah for our own region?
1) We need to have a burden for the place where God has called us. We want God’s favor on us to be a visible sign to our neighbors so that they know that God is the One and only God Almighty and Jesus is His Son. This desire drives us into God’s presence through prayer, fasting, and tears.
2) Our supply will come from the King as we move forward into what He has called us to do. We can’t wait until we see things come together. We must trust the Word of our King that He will supply for all our needs according to His riches and glory in Christ Jesus (Phil 4:19)
3) We can’t do this work without coming together. We might not look like much and are not many in number but if we are faithful to work together, we can accomplish great things! God has not called the strong but the weak. “Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were powerful; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong (1 Cor 1:26) We were never meant to be separated to the extent we are and God is requiring us to show maturity and love by working together for the common good.
What would rebuilding look like to you? Does it mean seeing people reached for the Lord, our church gatherings filled with people passionate for Jesus, new ministries birthed, and His Kingdom influencing the atmosphere of our area? Let’s step forward in faith by praying and working together to rebuild His Kingdom's presence in this region!